Monday, June 15, 2009

The Bigger Picture

There is an interesting article in the British Journal of Photography about how large digital archives of stock photographs are moving the entire market away from the signature shots of the famous auteurs that used to dominate the visual landscape from magazine covers to dorm room walls.

The commoditisation of stock photography through microstock images is threatening photography, says Corbis' chief executive officer Gary Shenk, as the number two picture library unveils a new initiative to profit from 50 million images in the prestigious Sygma archives.

In the past five years, microstock has grown exponentially, and the financial crisis has pushed even more photo buyers towards this budget end of the market. Last year, Getty Images, the leader in microstock through its iStockphoto operation, announced that the division's revenues would more than double to $262 million in 2012. This would account for close to 25% of the image giant's revenues.

At the same time, highly idiosyncratic images from only marginally professional photographers are having a heyday in the blogosphere, as bad family portraits get circulated in a culture of "lame hunting" rather than "cool hunting."

Thanks to Frank Evers for the link!

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